Great Outdoors Church Service May 21 – call to stand with Christians worldwide forced to worship in the open
Christians in the UK and Ireland are being challenged to leave the comfort of their church buildings this Sunday come rain or shine in a show of solidarity with the persecuted church.
Release International, which supports Christians facing persecution around the world, is encouraging churches to take part in the Great Outdoors Church Service. The aim is to stand with the many believers worldwide who are forced to hold their services in the open.
‘Many Christians in places such as Nigeria, Indonesia and China have no other option but to worship in the open air, whatever the weather,’ says Release Chief Executive, Paul Robinson.
‘These are Christians like us – except for one major difference. Their churches have been bulldozed by the state or burnt down by militants. They have been barred from their buildings or refused permission to have a church of their own.
‘We could so easily be in their shoes. So this Sunday, or any Sunday you choose, we can do just that. We can stand in solidarity with our persecuted brothers and sisters around the globe. Come rain or shine, they remain faithful. Let’s stand with them.’
2017 is the sixth year of the Great Outdoors Church Service. ‘It’s different; it’s fun, and churches who’ve taken part tell us it’s been a helpful reminder to pray for the persecuted,’ says Paul Robinson.
Although May 21 is the designated day for the service, churches are free to choose any date that suits them to gather outside.
‘This is a simple but powerful way to show our solidarity – and an opportunity to be a witness to our communities,’ says Paul Robinson.
A full resource pack, including stories and messages from persecuted Christians, prayers and sermon notes, is available online from lovekillshate.org, a website of Release International.
Through its international network of missions Release International serves persecuted Christians in more than 30 countries around the world, by: supporting pastors and Christian prisoners, and their families; supplying Christian literature and Bibles; and working for justice.